Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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What is the overall mood or tone of "Harrison Bergeron"? 

The overall tone of "Harrison Bergeron" can be described as detached and sardonic. Vonnegut reveals his contempt for legislated equality throughout the story by utilizing a sarcastic, candid tone to describe the completely uniform United States. The mood of the story changes from curious to frustrated to hopeful to despairing as the plot unfolds.

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The tone of a story refers to the author's attitude towards the subject and is conveyed through the writer's word choice and point of view. The overall tone of Vonnegut's celebrated short story "Harrison Bergeron" can be described as sarcastic, detached, and candid. Vonnegut displays a sardonic tone in the opening sentence of the story by writing that "everybody was finally equal."

Vonnegut's sardonic tone is also revealed when he writes, "It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard." By using the words "finally" and "all right," Vonnegut reveals his sarcastic view of the Constitution's stance on equality and conformity. The bleak situation should provoke outrage, but the citizens have passively accepted the harmful policies, which contributes to Vonnegut's satire and irony.

Vonnegut also seems to mock George and Hazel's argument regarding the nature of handicaps while failing to comprehend the larger issue of oppressed personal freedoms, which displays...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,101 words.)

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